Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Residents resoundingly reject Fremont roundabout


Photo By: Courtesy of City of Los Altos
Photo Courtesy Of City Of Los Altos

A roundabout proposed for Fremont Avenue at Fallen Leaf Lane in Los Altos met with vocal opposition from neighborhood residents, who fear its installation could create additional problems.

It may be back to the drawing board for city staff after Los Altos residents again voiced overwhelming opposition to a traffic-calming roundabout proposed for the Fremont Avenue and Fallen Leaf Lane intersection.

Packing the Los Altos City Council Chamber for the second time in eight months, most residents living at or near the intersection urged councilmembers at the Jan. 8 study session to consider alternative traffic solutions to the one-lane roundabout, which many found obtrusive and contended would only add to commuter gridlock.

“You’re going to create all these unforeseen problems,” said 30-year resident Frank Martin, who maintained that accidents involving cars and bikes would increase.

Part of a collector-street traffic-calming plan the council approved in 2011, the Fremont-Fallen Leaf roundabout was the first of four proposed for Fremont intersections. A roundabout involves a large circular patch of landscaping in the middle of an intersection that forces traffic to slow down while moving around it. The initial roundabout proposal drew approximately 110 people to a May 2012 hearing, with an overwhelming majority opposed to it.

Traffic expert Frederik Venter of RBF Consulting said roundabouts are the best traffic-calming options for reducing speed and increasing safety. He justified the proposed roundabout, citing 24 accidents at that intersection over an unspecified period of years and the statistic that 85 percent of vehicular traffic on Fremont exceeds the 30 mph speed limit by up to 9 mph.

But some residents said speed was not an issue on Fremont and that morning gridlock could be partially due to an improperly synchronized traffic light at the Fremont-Belleville Way intersection, across the Los Altos border in Sunnyvale. A big concern also voiced was the prospect of vehicles turning onto Fremont during busy periods.

“The problem is left turns during high traffic periods,” said 17-year resident Greg Frees. “The roundabout will not leave any gaps (for merging traffic).”

Several longtime residents questioned the need for any traffic calming at all, especially the roundabout, which carries a $400,000 price tag.

“I’m still not clear what the problem is that we’re attempting to solve,” Frees said.

A few residents supported the roundabout. Al Hubbard of Fallen Leaf Lane called it a “perfect solution,” noting that it’s a matter of getting used to it.

“As people become more familiar with roundabouts, it’s a solution you’re going to see more and more of across the United States,” he said.

Residents suggested a wide range of alternatives to the roundabout, from speed bumps and painted “Keep Clear” signs on the street to widening the bridge along Fremont toward Loyola Corners to relieve eastbound traffic. Others suggested raising the speed limit on Fremont from 30 to 35 mph to allow police to use radar to nab speeders.

Los Altos City Councilwoman Val Carpenter suggested that city staff explore other solutions.

“We have other alternatives that are less expensive and meet the needs of the people here,” she said.

Councilwoman Megan Satterlee approved the collector-street plan in 2011 on the premise that speeding was the main concern.

“We made a bad assumption that speed is the issue,” she said.

“If speed is not the issue, then address the access and safety perspective,” Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins said. “A $2 million investment (for Fremont roundabouts) to reduce the speed 7-9 mph – that’s a sledgehammer (solution).”

Los Altos’ Transportation and Project Manager Cedric Novenario said staff’s next step is to re-evaluate traffic-calming measures on Fremont, including examination of accident reports to determine the factors causing them. He could give no timeline for when the issue would return to the council.

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